Monday, October 31, 2011

HSJDI: How Steve Jobs Did It

Walter Isaacson for the New York Times:
He told me he began to appreciate the power of intuition, in contrast to what he called “Western rational thought,” when he wandered around India after dropping out of college. “The people in the Indian countryside don’t use their intellect like we do,” he said. “They use their intuition instead ... Intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect, in my opinion. That’s had a big impact on my work.”
If there was a stronger endorsement of Malcolm Gladwell's Blink, I haven't read or heard it.

Filed Under: The Steve Jobs Way

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Nokia Lumia 800 US availability

Read at BGR:
Sadly, Nokia has confirmed that the Lumia 800 will not launch in the U.S. this year. 2012 may be a different story but in the meantime, the phone will launch this month across several European countries and in additional markets by the end of the year for €420 before taxes and subsidies.

Truly sad because this is a phone worth coveting. The script isn't written to the end, but this might be the turning point for Nokia and Microsoft. Still many acts in this story...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

thisismynext: Exclusive insight into the philosophy of Android ICS

Joshua Topolsky got an exclusive sit-down interview the head of design at Android. This excerpt from the interview talks about some of the key user interface changes. As I read these, I realized that Android has adopted ideas from other platforms, ideas that are potentially patented. "Favorites Tray" is a synonym for the iOS Dock, the swipe gesture to dismiss an app is a keystone of interacting with webOS, etc. Keep an eye open for news on handset makers (Samsung to begin with) being sued anew by Apple and/or HP.
Along the bottom of the homescreen you have a “favorites tray,” which can be customized, in the center is a button to get to your applications. Google search is always present on homescreens in the launcher, kind of like “Just Type” in webOS. When you want to create a folder now, you simply drag an icon onto another icon, similar to iOS. Inside folders, app icons will rearrange themselves, also like Apple’s software. Widgets can scroll and be resized, as in Honeycomb. Everything is smooth and fluid; new animations have been added throughout the system.

The multi-tasking icon pulls up a list of app snapshots similar to Honeycomb, but those applications can now be killed by swiping them to the right — like vertical cards. Gestures are all over ICS. “Gestures are much more fun than hitting buttons. Touching and moving things; way better than buttons,” Matias says while moving around the device. Even the calendar app didn’t escape the touch treatment; you’re now able to pinch-to-zoom on your schedule to expand or contract the view, which seems incredibly helpful.

The notification window is now slightly translucent with a glowing dot when you pull it downward. Notifications can be swiped away one at a time, mirroring webOS 3.0 behavior. You can access your notifications on the lock screen if you’re not using a passcode, and you can jump quickly to your settings through the window shade.

Monday, October 17, 2011

iCloud snafus point to the darker side of consumer cloud

iCloud was launched with much fanfare but has run into issues that can be directly attributed to volume and scale. Other salient observations made in this article that we have discussed in the past for are:

1. Getting consumer-grade Software as a Service right is a challenge
2. Moving data from traditional data stores to the cloud is difficult and error-prone
3. Data privacy/protection is still an issue with cloud services (also refer Facebook privacy nightmares)

Restoring consumer confidence is not a perfect science; AWS customers seemed happy with a public post from the company detailing the reasons (technical and infrastructural) for the outage they experienced about 6 months ago. The past week has not been good for consumer-centric cloud services, what with the Blackberry outage and the iCloud issues. Both these companies can restore consumer confidence by explaining what went wrong and the adjustments made to provide virtually uninterrupted service in the future.

Windows Explorer getting it wrong

"this is Microsoft’s own research, cited in the same post: nobody — almost literally 0% of users — uses the menu bar, and only 10% of users use the command bar. Nearly everybody is using the context menu or hotkeys. So the solution, obviously, is to make both the menu bar and the command bar bigger and more prominent. Right?
LOL. Microsoft cannot design UI, except maybe the Windows Phone team!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The World is Ending? Yes and No.

Two master narratives — one threat-based, one opportunity-based, but both involving seismic changes. Gilding is actually an optimist at heart. He believes that while the Great Disruption is inevitable, humanity is best in a crisis, and, once it all hits, we will rise to the occasion and produce transformational economic and social change (using tools of the Big Shift). Hagel is also an optimist. He knows the Great Disruption may be barreling down on us, but he believes that the Big Shift has also created a world where more people than ever have the tools, talents and potential to head it off. My heart is with Hagel, but my head says that you ignore Gilding at your peril.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How to live the rest of your life

Words to live by.
I hope the message that people really take, really internalize is that being yourself, as hard as you can, is the way to have important and lasting impact on our world. That might be in the context of technology. It might be in the context of technology, or the arts, or sports, or government, or social justice — or even in the context of your family and close friends.

It almost doesn’t matter. The thing that matters most is to figure out what’s important to you, what’s core to you, and do that. Be that. And do it as well as you possibly can, every single day.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Steve Jobs passes away. An era ends...

I can't think of another person who I have followed with fervor bordering on the fanatical as I have Steven P. Jobs. Last night, for reasons I can't explain, I decided to see his commencement speech at Stanford in 2005. What started as scribblings on a W postcard is now in the mailbox headed home as a cheat sheet for how I should lead my life. Not only was Steve a visionary and a genius, he also had a way with words that made you stop and listen.

The seer is no more; he lives on in our hearts and in Apple's products - present and future. Thank you Steve: You found your own dogma and shared it with the rest of us. For that, we are forever grateful.